Friday, June 15, 2007

The Management of Bicycle Transportation

[I haven't been able to view the entire video, but what I have seen is very interesting. I will review this later.]

John Forester spoke at Google's headquarters on the occasion of Bike To Work Day, celebrated May 17 2007 in Silicon Valley and the San Francisco Bay Area. He was part of Google's ongoing Tech Talks series of invited guest speakers. His topic was The Management of Bicycle Transportation. You can watch the video here.

[Thanks to ProBicycle for the reference]


Alfred Sawatzky said...

John Forester's main point seems to be that the role of bike paths/routes/lanes is to get the pesky cyclists out of the way of the motorists. His thesis seems to be that cyclists need to claim their rightful spot on the road (following the rules of the road, of course) and not back down when authorities try to relegate cyclists to their own lanes/paths/routes. While I agree that cyclists need to be assertive in carving out their space on the road, I am also thankful for the many miles of bike pathes/routes/lanes that are available in my town (Boulder, Colorado, USA). While I may be able to get to my intended location faster by utilizing motor ways I do enjoy being able to commute to work on my bike along paths that cannot be travelled by exhaust-spewing motor vehicles. While it is arguable whether bike paths are part of efficient transportation policy, I am sure that they are part of a healthy lifestyle policy.

Bikeboy said...

Hi, Alfred.

Pleased to make your acquaintance.

John Forester is the Pope of Transportation Cycling! I'll definitely have to view that video presentation.

Here in Boise, Idaho, we have a mix of pedestrian/bike paths, bike lanes, and open traffic (as do most places). And I'm with you - if there's a dedicated path that takes me where I need to go, I'll almost always choose it.

(An exception comes to mind - they built this fabulous bike path along Federal Way, which is a fairly major 5-lane arterial. The problem is, for most of the distance, there are curb-cuts and vehicle crossings for the numerous businesses that lie along the route. Obviously the traffic along Federal Way has the right-of-way... but who has the right-of-way at those sidewalk-like bicycle crossings? I know people who have collided with cars, because of that ambiguity. I just take Federal Way and remove the ambiguity.)

Likewise, I'll almost always use an available striped bike lane, unless it's cluttered with hazards.

But sometimes my destination doesn't lie along a bike path or bike lane. (And if we need such to get everywhere, fuggeddaboudit, because we can't afford it.)

The most notorious road for cyclists is Fairview Avenue. I believe the reputation is undeserved, because it has plenty of width. It's a 5-lane road. Just yesterday I rode most of the stretch that's notorious, without a single problem (other than perhaps the more-concentrated air pollution that you mentioned). The most beautiful part of it is, I consistently left the rush-hour traffic fading into my rearview mirror as I maintained a steady 15mph or so, and they backed further and further behind the hoardes.

We all have to make tough choices, I s'pose. I choose NOT to participate in traffic jams. (And like to occasionally ride on even the busy streets - using judgment - just to assert my freedom to do so.)

Steve Hulme aka bikeboy aka "Bike Nazi"